When you start talking about divorce, death or grief, people tend to avoid the discussion because… Yes, why? Why don’t we talk about death? Why do people react that way?
After some research at the Dutch Bureau of Census and a couple of checklists on dealing with stress, it appears that in the Netherlands on average one in 30 to 35 people are somehow involved in coping with mourning. Look around you and wonder why people react in this way.
Listen to the news. Every day, people face divorce, death of a loved one, loss of work, an incurable disease or war. The question is not if, but when it happens to you or me. We don’t like it and we want to stay far away from it. However, life is different. Look around you and wonder why you react in this way.
Is it better, then, to prepare ourselves in some way in case something similar happens to us? I do not know. I have lost quite a few people who were close to me. Each time it was different and each time it felt different, not a little, but a lot different. In other words, preparing for it is difficult… if not impossible.
Yes, you can prepare for the rituals that are performed after a divorce or a death. But from an emotional point of view? It is not a play where you are a spectator. You are personally involved, and the script is different every time. It depends on many factors, such as the people around you, their relationships, and the way they deal with grief. Family and in-laws can talk very emotionally about the division of the estate; discussions that can go as far as breaking family ties. The more people are involved, the more complicated it becomes. In short, how should you prepare for such a situation? Personally, I believe this is not possible, but… this does not mean that we cannot try.
A first hurdle that could be taken is the taboo of talking about grief and mourning. It’s about the sad side of life, a side with an emotional charge. We don’t want it to happen to us, but it happens. We may be afraid of it, afraid of the change that is about to happen to us… afraid of the unknown.
But whatever the reason, we have lost someone and that has a significant impact on us and our lives. Sometimes that is a hard lesson and an extremely painful process that goes against everything we feel and want. Sometimes… we want… or we can’t adapt. And yet somehow, we will have to learn to live with it and find a new balance… or not… with all its consequences.
In short, it is not about the person we have lost, but about ourselves… is that why we do not want to talk about it?
Text updated on 23-09-2020